Post War Europe was a different time, a time when an automotive icon, capable and successful racing and road car as the XK120 could go from conception to construction in a matter of months. It was first presented to the public in 1948 at the Earls Court Motor Show, causing a sensation and the accompanying demand for the hitherto unheard of 120mph top speed of the world’s fastest production car.
Jaguar was caught by the surprising demand and had to redesign the car to keep up with orders, a 20-month process of development before production could begin.
At its heart was the 3.4 liter 6-cylinder twin overhead cam engine designed through the war for the Mark VII saloon. It boasted 160bhp, enough to propel a car to 126mph+ on the E40 south of Bruges in 1949. And yet, in that Jaguar tradition, it was a new standard of comfort, roadholding and performance for British sports cars at more than reasonable pricing. The XK120 was produced until 1954 and would prove to be the most popular of the XK series, with 12,078 examples built.
The 1954 Jaguar XK120 Roadster offered here comes from a decade of ownership in the hands of a Southern California collector of discerning taste in two and four-wheeled machines. Purchased in February 2013, the odometer read 9,348 miles. Now, that odometer reads only 13,416. In those 4,000 miles of meticulous ownership, the car was transformed in to a useable and supremely reliable car with the addition of Wilwood disc brakes at the front, new custom racing style seats, reminiscent of the D-Type, while the originals accompany the sale, a center console for handy storage and boot-located battery connectors. A slightly smaller steering wheel was installed, while the original also accompanies the sale.
Service work was performed by marque expert John Pollock Restorations in Reseda, California, and Yorks & Lancs Automotive in Chatsworth. Only a couple of receipts accompany the sale, as the car has been used sparingly, and has proven to be perfectly reliable.
The white paint is in excellent condition, virtually free of any blemishes at all. Brightwork is generally excellent with some minor wear present on several pieces. The black leather interior is also very well presented with only minor wear present on the carpets. The black canvas top and tonneau are in superb condition, as are the chrome wire wheels. The car comes with tools and jack and a wonderfully raspy exhaust note from the twin pipes.
The car truly needs to be driven to appreciate how well restored it was, how tight and nimble it feels on the road with strong power, smooth shifting gearbox and the confidence-inspiring brakes. Not one to be missed.